Companies that offer a great compensation program tend to attract the best people and retain valued employees, but designing a program is no easy task. Not only do you have to benchmark your compensation to levels outside the organization, you also have align them to the company's own benefits culture, internal job descriptions, company goals and performance reviews. Certified Compensation Professionals work in human resources, helping companies to figure all this out.


A compensation specialist is responsible for creating and managing compensation programs. The industry mark of excellence is known as the Certified Compensation Professional, or CCP designation.

What Is CCP Certification?

CCP stands for Certified Compensation Professional. It's a designation offered by World at Work, a professional association for human resources employees, and is widely regarded as the mark of expertise for anyone who works in the compensation field. Earning this credential shows that an individual possesses the knowledge required to integrate compensation programs into an organization's business strategy. It also demonstrates knowledge to efficiently manage an organization's base pay, pay-for-performance, bonuses, merit raises and other incentive compensation programs for the benefit of employees.

What Do Certified Compensation Professionals Do?

Every business needs talent to thrive, and the amount and type of compensation offered is a key influencing factor when people are deciding where to work. A CCP is the person responsible for designing the type of compensation program that attracts the right type of talent a company needs. To do this, the CCP collects and analyzes information about salaries and benefits within the industry, including what competitors are paying. He or she then takes those benchmarks and works with managers to develop compensation-based hiring, promotion and retention strategies within the organization. For example, a CCP might create a new job description that allows for a higher pay level in order to retain a valued employee.

How Do You Gain a CCP?

The CCP is a voluntary designation. It's usually held by human resources professionals who already hold bachelor's degrees and who have considerable experience in the field. Candidates need a good working knowledge of market pricing, performance-based pay, variable pay and employee analysis to pass the nine World at Work certification exams. Most candidates self-study using exam preparation materials that are available online. Generally, it takes around two to three years to become a CCP. An applicant must achieve a passing score of 75 percent through the online examination system to receive the CCP designation.

How Is CCP Relevant to Small Business?

For large companies with thousands of employees, hiring a CCP is a good step towards ensuring the company is compliant with legal and corporate governance regulations regarding compensation programs, such as accounting for all payroll. While small companies may not have the same regulatory concerns, hiring an HR generalist who holds a CCP certification ensures that the organization remains up to date on what the competition is doing regarding salary and benefits. More importantly, a CCP helps the business to fairly manage its raises and bonus structures to reward and retain valued employees. Because good employees are the lifeblood of a business, the work of a CCP can impact the entire business.